Technology has definitely changed how people can meet one another. Being Pagan, dating is already hard enough because you have to worry about how potential suitors see your religion (which can range from “You’re crazy” to “You’re polytheist, how does that work? That means you don’t believe in god, right?”). Being Black while Pagan and dating is intensely stressful with a pretty small pool to choose from. Too loose with your selections, you’ll wind up with some phony Notep*, fake-deep person who knows absolutely nothing (besides intense misogynoiric beliefs, internalized racism and anti-semitism) and will drive you up a wall. Too rigid and you may wind up just collecting cats and crystal rocks, wondering if you can make Cupid physical just to chuck at him said stones and cats.
Being Pagan, it’s important to date someone who, even if they don’t believe the same thing you do, they can at least respect it completely and not as some wacky phase. Now, it would be cool to find another Black Pagan to date. Someone who gels with you, gets you, is a great friend and a fantastic companion buuuuuut, man oh man, even with magick, that’s a toughie. However, technology helps for being able to find your type. Also, did I mention you should read Dr. Nerdlove because he writes great columns on dating or Bedsider because it’s tons of great, factual info on contraceptives from abstinence to condoms to iuds and safe sex/dating tips? Because you should.
There’s, of course, the popular OkCupid. There’s Bumblr, the dating app where women make the first move (unfortunately, it’s only for Apple, not Android or any other platform.) Recently, a friend of mine hipped me to Coffee Meets Bagel, an app where you only can talk to people if you both mutually like each other’s profile and are connected via the expansive network of your friends. So, I gave it a whirl. Because, science.
One thing I learned from interacting with the app: I have waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many friends in STEM – which is also the same field I tend to usually not date from because STEMbros are usually super annoying, very red-pill and holy crap, a cavalcade of internalized self-hate and insecurity parading as cocky douchebaggery, misogyny and woe-is-me-because-I’m-a-geek. That and Finance…and Medicine (this is simply for me, not every woman that walks the earth because, personally, don’t gel with them as potential romantic partners). Just ain’t my gig, brah.
Alright, just because technology has made dating (slightly) easier, it doesn’t mean everyone is going to be a winner. View examples below…actually, before I begin, I would like to mention that, sadly, there is only “Straight/Gay” selection to view matches so if you’re bi or pan, I guess you’ll have to switch every week or something but right now, there’s nothing there on the app for those who date more than one gender, it’s either one or the other. Hopefully, that will change in the future.
Here we have exhibit A:
Alllllllllllllright. This is a pretty easy way to never get selected. Be prejudiced and bigoted (why say “Jewish” for employer simply because you’re working in Finance?) and, even if joking, come off as an omega douche. Relationships are about communication, even if it were with a telepath. Basically, doesn’t really talk about what they want in a person in terms of personality (“Someone with a great sense of humor”, “Easy going and quirky, just like me”, etc) but basically wants a doll, nearly. There’s only one thing about personality (“can be bold”) and the rest is, well, not personality. It’s okay to say to not wanting vapid, shallow or vain people by saying “I want someone who lives life out loud and down to earth” or something like that but to just say “Here’s a list of what you can’t be. Either you’re in or you’re out…and the list doesn’t apply to me” because if you’re a self-proclaimed “couch potato” of a gamer, you can’t really call on anyone’s looks how they maintain it or how they eat. And everyone says they work out, almost every guy paints themselves as a gym rat on dating sites, even if they’ve only been in a gym long enough to get out of the rain.
Time to present Exhibit B:
See what I mean?
This person isn’t sopping with douchebaggery, thankfully, but a bit of spite. No one wants to be cheated on. (And there’s a difference between being cheated on and being in an open relationship – and it involves all parties being in the know.) It sucks that, clearly, the guy must have gone through that really heartbreaking experience, but if all you want is someone to not cheat, that’s a low bar. It’s the same as saying “Doesn’t beat me, not abusive”. It’s goes unsaid that you want someone who loves you, respects you, cares about you. It’s insecurity and fear put on parade to have to put the basics out there. The dude seems like he’s got a personality, an active life but the last bit is a killer.
And Exhibit C:
Is dude trying to get a date or adopt a pet?
To start with because, wow: “Mentally stable and from a decent home”. Basically “no psychos and …well bred?” This sounds more inline with someone wanting a pet than a person. Is dude going to give you a psych eval and a college admission-level background check? That and anyone can wind up with a trauma or something just as affecting throughout their life, no one is 100% sane. Not even 90% sane. Including people who quip movies in regular, non-film related conversations to make a point.
There’s way, way more examples but this is enough. This shows that it’s still difficult to date, even in the current technological era we’re in.
The best that I can suggest is simply to think about what one actually wants in a person. Not in physical wants but what type of person they can – and can’t – live with. For example, if someone just dislikes over-hyper people, they’re not going to like someone who is obsessed with Deadpool or Baby Metal because that’s a personality trait that wears them out and grinds their nerves. What makes an awesome friend to you, is a good place to start.
Being Pagan, try to find folks who will gravitate well with nature-based lives or simply aren’t “hard science knows all”. Actually…let’s look at Pagan personals. Being Black, I can already say this will be a depressing experience, I just have a feeling.
From a cursory view, there aren’t many strictly Pagan dating sites but since I’ve been Pagan for a pretty good chunk of my life, seeing this many sites is almost like seeing a crowded room where it used to be filled with nothing but air, space and dust just a minute ago.
To start, almost all the sites listed use a lot of the same layout just about. Holy crap. It doesn’t have to look as sleek as OkCupid but, goodness, pay the webcoder more and make it better.
The site reminds me of a GeoCities site from the 90s, complete with the little flappy flags. Now what surprised me was I didn’t have to search that long and hard for a Black person. Just one and on the first page. This is improvement because the Pagan community can sometimes act a little too similar to Klan folks but with flowers and folk music. Maybe they’ll have three one day.
The site appears pretty simplex. The landing page is pretty simple (and old school) but pretty restricted for gender selections/orientations (can’t look for bi or ace people). I am happy that there is some diversity instead of chokingly White. It can certainly improve (holy crap, it needs to improve) but at least there’s something.
The member search don’t have screen names but just present the start of their blurb, which is nice. You can look in each section one by one, it’s nice. However, you don’t know when the blurb got put up or anything, there’s no reference to time. The profile could be a zombie profile (inactive for a long time) for all you know.
I don’t have a membership but I would like to imagine that there’s an intricate search feature so you can look for other Black Pagans easier.
This site looks a bit better than Pagan Partners, it’s interesting and engaging. Very closed off from outside eyes (which can be a good thing, especially since some Pagans aren’t out of the broom closet yet) but you can see the many faces that are on the site. I see specks of Black folks here and there and just like anywhere, I hope there is a search feature that allows people to whittle down to the finds they want.
They put up “Pagan Dating Privacy” notice which is sensible and up front. Joining is free but it appears interacting more with anyone you click with may cost you but it won’t cost you much – as low as $5/month because it’s a small Pagan business.
I swear the site looks so much like wicca.com. The colors, the foliage design, the Celtic sigils, ye gods. These folks are UK-based (but have selections from around the world) and have an option for those who are open, bi, whatever, in addition to the usual straight/gay pickings.
Also, Pagan Harmony lets you see how long someone has been active on the site with an “Active within 1 month” or “Not recently active”. That’s super useful for a user to know. Also, by just looking at the straight male selection (that had pictures), I scrolled through 10 pages and saw only two Black guys. That’s not good. Everyone else appeared White for the very most part.
Alright, we looked at quite a bit, wow. The Pagan dating sites are still omega starved in regards to diversity. It was hard looking for guys my own race, I couldn’t imagine how much more difficult it would be to be Latin and Pagan or Asian and Pagan. Being Native and Pagan would just be rage-inducing, I’m sure.
There’s a lot out there but in a way, it seems the same thing over and over. One thing I always tell my guy friends (because there’s not a lot of honest (and non-misogynistic) dating advice out there): Have a personality. It isn’t lame to be not-lame. Sex is not all there is, and if guys think that’s all they need to seem decent to a woman or to keep one around, they should know that technology is waaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of them.
Oh, man, I remember a guy friend of mine stumbled onto a sex toy online store and was super frustrated to the point of comedy. Just clicking through page after page, just going “Whu- what? What is this?! Why is it so small?! And it’s…it’s a top seller? Why is this so teeny? It looks like a silver, teeny egg, is that what wome- WHY DOES THIS PEEN LOOK FUTURISTIC?! And it plays music? AND A LITTLE LIGHT SHOW? IT’S. A. LIGHT. SHOW. Why does it have an rpm?! CARS have that! I…I can’t do all that! I can’t be a walking rave. Why do women need this – do women need this?! I feel replaced by a $20 singing glow stick that could probably mix paint and test blood and this little $5 egg. I thought…I mean…what the fu-“
It was glorious.
Going back to what I was saying, technology is waaaaay ahead of dudes on women’s libido, might as well have a personality worth sticking around for[link]. A well-rounded personality will get you a lot farther than just being window dressing. That’s what magazines are for.
Also: If you’re a guy and you want to put up a profile photo…AVOID POSING WITH GUNS. Please, for the love of all that is good and fluffy, don’t post a picture of yourself with a gun. It doesn’t matter that you love guns and want to attract a girl who also loves guns. That’s fine but there’s other ways besides packing heat in your profile pic, like talking about it (in a way that wouldn’t have the FBI raising an eyebrow), mention that you like going to a shooting range, something like that. Even women who are pro-guns still are aware that quite a bit of women die from them as a result of a douche dude with a gun. You don’t want to come off as the “All-In-One Abuser Boyfriend: Homicidal Maniac Edition! (Comes with one (1) free Insane Clown Posse/NWA cd)” type. Basically: keep the guns out of the profile.
Relationships are tough, that’s no lie. Dating is also just as tough, if not tougher. Dating while Pagan is a challenge, dating while Pagan and Black is super difficult. I was mainly talking from a straight girl perspective but still, dating while Pagan and Black is tough, regardless of gender (however, gender definitely can play a role). Technology helps thins the crowd in an effective way but it’s no magic elixir from loneliness. That takes work, time and due diligence.
*Sliding away from “Afriboo” which I derived from “Weaboo”, which is a person who obsesses over Japan to the point of fetishism, but for anything and everything Africa: the people (including the diaspora), the culture and beliefs – to a pretty fetish-y, hyper-romanticizing extent. Sadly, “Afriboo” sounds waaaay to close to other, not-fun words, which can cloud meaning quiiiiiick.